The Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism has refuted media reports which purport that licences for more than half of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, one of Africa’s largest conservation areas, have been granted to drill for shale gas.
In December 2015, reports surfaced that the Botswana government had quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas.
In a statement, the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism denied as untrue reports that there is fracking in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP). “The Ministry responsible for National Parks in Botswana would like to assure all stakeholders and concerned parties that there is no fracking in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. There are also no licenses for fracking in the KTP,” reads part of the statement.
It is alleged that prospecting licences for more than half of the park were granted to a UK-listed company called Nodding Donkey in September 2014. The company changed its name in early December 2015 to Karoo Energy.
However, the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism reiterated the fact that they are responsible for the approval of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) which must be carried out for all developments in Botswana to ensure environmental management. ‘This Ministry, responsible for EIA’s has no intention to issue any EIA approvals for fracking in the KTP or any National Park or National Game Reserve in Botswana”.
The Ministry also gave further assurances that no approvals have been given for fracking in the Kalahari Transfrontier Park and since they are responsible for biodiversity and preservation of our natural resources and heritage, all holders of prospecting licenses have to seek approval from the relevant authority before they can attempt to carry out fracturing.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which spans the border with South Africa, is an immense 36,000 sq km wilderness, home to a variety of species including gemsbok desert antelope, black-maned Kalahari lions and pygmy falcons.